Karachi, Aug 18 (IANS) Hailing the late former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his “great courage and vision” in his attempts to improve stressed ties with Pakistan, a Karachi-based daily on Saturday said his successor Narendra Modi should follow his politics that was unprecedented in South Asia.
“Vajpayee undeniably showed great courage and vision in travelling to Pakistan by bus at the invitation of (the) then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Lahore declaration signed by the two prime ministers in February 1999 is a high point in the last two decades in the quest for the normalisation of relations between the nuclear-armed rivals,” Dawn newspaper said in its Saturday edition editorial.
The daily pointed out that Modi had not shown any willingness to engage Pakistan in a “sustained and meaningful manner” even as he invoked his approach to Kashmir in his Independence Day speech on Wednesday.
“It is hoped that the Vajpayee path with Pakistan can be returned to by the BJP and by India.”
It said the political right in India was struggling to produce a “true statesman and national leader today” with the stature of Vajpayee who “combined a formidable intellect with political skill and organisation to widen the political mainstream.
“Vajpayee represented a kind of politics that was without precedent before him.”
The daily noted that no peacenik could favourably look upon Vajpayee’s decision to campaign for and then conduct five nuclear tests as the Prime Minister in May 1998.
But “from a Pakistani perspective, the Pokhran-II nuclear tests… ushered in an era of overt nuclearisation in South Asia and have arguably forever changed the security equation in the region”.